Friday, June 4, 2010

Root Down Green Restaurant Tour

Not long ago a friend, L, and I attended the Green Route Restaurant Tour stop at Root Down. When we got there, we still weren't sure what to expect from the "tour." We thought there would be a tour of the kitchen (which is pretty laughable if you see the size of Root Down't kitchen--plus it's pretty open and you can see it when you walk by it to your table). It turned out to basically be free appetizers and drink specials. Woohoo!

Denver's Green Route, it turns out, is "a green map for the City of Denver, showcasing the cutting edge sustainable businesses and organizations that make Denver a global leader in sustainability." The "tour" was a series of evenings at green restaurants in Denver, featuring free apps and drink specials to encourage people to try a new green restaurant (or re-visit an old one). The tour is over for now, but the Green Route host told me there would be another one this summer, so watch their site for announcements. You do need to reserve a spot and have a pass. Definitely worth attending.

I love the retro decorations of the restaurant. It's in an old garage with doors that can be pulled up when the weather is nice. They have this wall of rotary phones in the bar area (photo courtesy here). They have a similar wall of retro scales in the ladies room, which I took a picture of, but can't seem to find now. Check out this slide show at Metromix for some good pictures of the decor and food.

Green Route served us a number of appetizers including sweet potato fries with a toasted curry-lime yogurt dipping sauce, smoked portobello wontons with leeks, shallots, mascarpone & soy-mint "dunk," and sweet potato samosa "spring rolls," my favorite. Some people were lucky enough to get oyster sliders (but sadly not me). We really liked all of the appetizers. L and I drank “42 Below” rosemary-lavender lemonades, which were refreshing and delicious.

We also had dinner reservations. Our server was super nice and wearing some great jewelry. I commented on one of her rings and it turns out they're her own designs. She takes old vinyl records and other materials and melts them down to make really cool designs. She doesn't have a website yet, but she does sell her items at Eve, Inc. boutique on Larimer. I'm pretty certain the black rings and cuffs here are hers. Just go there and ask for Junky Funk Designs jewelry.

Anyways, back to the food. We shared a nice cheese plate and seared diver scallops with plantain hash, lemon-habanero tartar Sauce & crispy leeks. The scallops were a bit underdone for my taste and the accompaniments were super salty. We each had a different slider plate. I had the hoisin duck confit slider with lemon creme fraiche, shoestring sweet potatoes, and arugula, served on an Udis challah bun. This dish was WAY too sweet for my taste (a common problem with duck dishes, I've found), and L had buffalo sliders with Mongolian BBQ, shitake mushroom relish, and arugula, also served on an Udi’s challah bun with burdock root chips, which she enjoyed.

While I didn't love all the dishes, I still had a great time and would definitely go back--especially for appetizers and cocktails.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Tips for the Farmers' Market

Here's a good article from Serious Eats for shopping your local Farmers' Market:

10 Tips to Take to the Farmers' Market.

I would add an 11th tip: be sure to ask whether the produce is actually local. You'd be surprised how often it is not (unless you're at the Boulder market, where it is required).